Given her enormous talent and contribution to African American life and letters, I am puzzled why there has not been SIGNIFICANT attention paid to her work. We are thankful for good friend and long-time editor Toni Morrison for her commitment to Bambara’s legacy, as well as Linda Holmes and Cheryl Wall who published an important book honoring her memory, Savoring the Salt, in 2008. Still, since her death in 1995 there remains a huge void in the amount of critical attention paid to Bambara’s vision and extraordinary creative talent. Her fiction, especially her two novels, can be intimidating because of panoramic lens required for understanding her artistic vision that conjures stories that convert elements/invisible pieces of African and African American culture into a whole. Her literary purpose is one of saving lives or spirits where there are voids, particularly regarding women and children. As she explains in “Salvation is the Issue,” what she works to do is “to produce stories that save our lives.”
I hope that when my edited volume of her interviews, Conversations with Toni Cade Bambara is released in April 2012, people will peruse it to gain a better understanding of this outstanding writer, community worker, and film maker. What readers will learn is that Bambara was talking and doing “Womanism” before it received a name as such. We need a revival of Bambara and her legacy similar to the type of revival Zora Neale Hurston’s work received several decades ago.